Freezing & Canning
Summer Fruits & Veggies

Fresh peaches being prepped to be frozen

Sliced fresh peaches ready to be frozen

The Basics of Freezing

Freezing is one of the easiest ways to save the flavors of the season for later! Just follow these easy steps to stock up.

1. Spread your fruits and vegetables in a single layer on a baking sheet before freezing.

  • Freezing in single layer prevents clumping and makes it easier to portion what you want to thaw later.
  • Prepare your fruits and vegetables the same way you would if you were going to use them immediately—peel and core apples and pears, remove the pits from peaches, chop them into bite-sized pieces; berries and other small fruits can be left whole.
  • Some produce, such as green beans and okra, requires pre-cooking, but most can be frozen as is.

2. Once your individual pieces are frozen, transfer them into a freezer-safe container for longer storage.

  • Remove as much air as possible from the bag/container to help protect from freezer burn.

The Benefits of Canning

Another great way to save the flavors of the season, canning goes one step beyond cooking, letting you preserve summer’s freshest flavors for later.

  • Processing your fruits and veggies in closed glass jars at high temperatures destroys any food contaminants and prevents spoilage.
  • Canning is also a great option when you have limited freezer space!

For tips and tricks on canning, check out Ball’s canning guide.

7 Fundamentals of Safely Freezing Food

With meals at home becoming the new mainstay, we asked our food safety team to give us a quick refresher on how to safely freeze and thaw leftovers for maximum deliciousness.

1. Before packing and freezing your meal, let your food cool to room temperature – don’t keep it out for more than 2 hours though.

2. Leave space at the top of your container – this allows your food to expand, saving you from messy freezer overflows.

3. Label and date everything – this keeps you from guessing when that lasagna in the back of the freezer was last seen.

4. Don’t stack containers until they are frozen – this allows air to circulate around the food when it’s first placed in the freezer, helping it freeze faster.

5. Use durable freezer-safe containers or freezer bags – frozen bags stack easier and are major space-savers.

6. Thaw food in the refrigerator, not on the counter – for faster thawing, try placing your frozen container or bag in a bowl of cold water, making sure your container is tightly sealed. You’ll want to immediately cook or use your food once it’s thawed if using this method.

7. Once your food is thawed, it’s best to enjoy it within a few days.

For more on freezing and food safety, check out the USDA’s tips.

Watch our tips for packing an easy and nutritious lunch box.

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